Scott Johnson Composer

<back to compositions

Assembly Required (2019) 40.00

  Conversation 1 (Introduction)  
  Song 1  
  Dance 1  
  Conversation 2 (Argument)  
  Song 2  
  Dance 2  
  Last Dance  

clar/b.clar, sop/tenor sax, viola, e. guitar, e. bass, piano, drumset/glockenspiel

Premiered January 23, 2020, by Contemporaneous at Roulette, New York City

Notes on the Music

In my 2003 work "Americans", I paired the sampled voices of immigrants to the United States with a quintessential feature of American popular music: the electric band. In this case a rock band core of guitar, bass, drums, and piano were joined by clarinet, saxophone, and viola. In 2018 I decided to write a purely instrumental companion piece for this amplified ensemble. The result is a work with a very different impulse - rather than using a rock band as a metaphorical landing strip for newcomers, in "Assembly Required" I am mining my own experiences and memories.

This piece is a reflection on popular music: the sociality that inspires it, the gatherings where it occurs, and its value to "classical" traditions, past and present. Popular music merges public commonality with personal desires and expectations, distilling them into the familiar sounds that oil the wheels of our sociality - and these genres and trends within the broader culture have long provided both sounds and emotional points of contact to concert music. I've always been struck by resemblances between Bach dance suites and a bar band's set list, and those thoughts inform these eight song-length sections, played without pause.

  ©2008 Scott Johnson. All rights reserved.
Website created by